Halting the Potomac River Pollution: The Goal, Trash Free by 2013

House of Sweden located in lower Foggy Bottom was the site of last week’s Trash Summit, an initiative by the District-based Alice Ferguson Foundation in collaboration with national and state agencies, politicians, and public and private concerns and in keeping with Sweden’s environmental focus.

The Trash Free Potomac Watershed Initiative (TFPWI) is a program to reduce trash and increase recycling, education and awareness of trash issues in the Watershed. It is being addressed through the Potomac River Watershed Trash Treaty, Annual Potomac River Watershed Trash Summit, Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup, and Regional Public Education & Awareness Campaign.

This initiative was first signed into accord in 2005 by two District representatives: then-Mayor Anthony Williams and then- Councilman Vincent Gray, along with their counterparts in Virginia, Maryland, nongovernmental organizations, sponsors, organizers, and concerned community members. The document is available for viewing on-line by clicking here »

Initial efforts were exclusively focused on the Anacostia River. In 2008 the Alice Ferguson Foundation, Montgomery and Prince George’s county governments, the District and other area partners lobbied the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to rule theAnacostia River as impaired, requiring a TMDL, or Total Maximum Daily Load program2 for the river. This was the first multijurisdictional plan of its kind in the country and has been successful in the progress of a “Trash-Free” Anacostia. Information on TMDL is available by clicking here ».

Litter is also a serious problem in the Potomac River and its major tributaries. While there is currently limited research and data available to track the sources of litter watershed-wide, we know that litter travels from our streets into storm drains and waterways until it reaches the Potomac River. Trash that has been improperly or intentionally deposited along roadsides and in public and private open spaces finds its way to the river.

Not limited to Summit participants, everyone— individuals, businesses and organizations—can make their effort count by downloading and boning up on the “The Trash Free Potomac Facility Guidebook,” an offshoot of the TFPWI. The Guidebook introduces the Trash Free Potomac Facility (TFPF) Program and shares valuable information on how your organization can become a TFPF partner by implementing a successful waste reduction and litterprevention program. The Guidebook is available for download by clicking here » — FBN

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